The Ministry of Health asked us to create a resource that would provide men with the information needed to make some big decisions: Should I be tested for prostate cancer? And what should I do with the results? The problem is that prostate cancer is a complex cancer, and neither the results of testing nor the advantages of treatment are clear. In addition, many men are reluctant healthcare consumers. How could we create a resource that would connect with men, inform them, and persuade them to think through their options?
Our first response was to go to the consumers who would benefit from using the resources. Naturally, we prioritised men who might use the new resources. We also engaged with health professionals as part of a series of hui. This consultation continued throughout the development process and included audience reference groups and touchstone testing. It also included a specific lens on how we could reach Māori and Pasifika men.
Below, you can see some of the outcomes of this collaborative approach to resource development. Our audience told us that the information should be delivered in a range of formats to meet the needs of people with different preferences.
We created poster concepts, a ‘quick guide’ that would be useful for most men and their whānau, and a booklet for those who wanted more detail (pictured). The resources can be downloaded, viewed online, or ordered for free.
There are audio versions and versions in New Zealand Sign Language. The audience members we engaged with said that the most effective ‘hook’ would be an appeal to men’s sense of responsibility for their whānau. At the same time, good health requires whānau support.
The resources speak directly to men and their families, encouraging discussion with their health professional. The resources explain prostate cancer and screening and outline available options for testing and treatment. The language is plain but informative, with key terms deliberately introduced to build health literacy.
The language and imagery is inclusive, working together to build knowledge. Diagrams are clearly labelled and parts of the body are shown within context. Checklists prompt active engagement with the content, making it more likely that it will be remembered.
We listened carefully to our audience and to the other stakeholders, and we responded to what they said. As a result, when we went back to show them the completed products, they liked what they saw.
They said the resources feel inclusive and reflect important elements of the worldviews of different cultures. They liked the clean, simple design and the different ways people can engage with the information. Overall, they felt that the new resources would succeed in giving men the information and motivation necessary to make informed choices about their prostate health.